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Ref ID: 27920
Ref Type: Journal Article
Authors: Creak, Simon
Title: Muscular Buddhism for modernizing Laos
Date: 2011
Source: Journal of Lao Studies
Abstract: In royalist Laos, physical culture constituted a kind of “muscular Buddhism” that drew on the character- and state-building logic of European muscular Christianity, but was also enmeshed in the ideas and practices of Buddhism. Far from being supplanted by modern notions of physical culture, Buddhist ideas of merit and physicality offered a means for translating these practices into the Lao vernacular and experience, making them comprehensible as auspicious acts in the local cultural milieu. This process of translation inevitably changed meaning. Unlike the English or French “discipline,” the Lao labiap-vinai was inextricably tied to notions of monastic discipline. Likewise, developing bodies was rendered into the Lao language as a meritorious act, which was necessarily absent from European notions of physical culture. This article draws these conclusions through a close study of the magazine Seuksathikan (Education, 1958-70), which was designed as a handbook for teachers in the Royal Lao Government’s public education system. As a key tool and record of the process of translation, the magazine offers insights into parallels between monastic and military cultures and the militarization of political culture in Laos, both before and after 1975.
Date Created: 6/2/2015
Volume: 2
Number: 2
Page Start: 1
Page End: 22